[Milton-L] Satan and Resentment

Horace Jeffery Hodges jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
Fri Jan 28 19:49:27 EST 2011

Interesting ideas, Terrance, but I'm not sure that Anselm's ontological argument 
works for any but the most perfect being. If Satan exists, then as a contingent 
being, he need not exist in all possible worlds, but in whatever worlds he has 
existence, then I would agree that he would have to be playing a role in the 
larger purposes of the most perfect being, i.e., God.

But that throat-clearing out of the way, I would argue that large-scale 
resentment motivates Satan. He resents what he feels as a personal impairment to 
him in the elevation of the Son.

Interestingly, however -- if my checking is correct -- Milton only one time uses 
the term "resent" (and never uses "resentment"), and only with respect to Adam 
and Eve in their unfallen state early in Book 9. I'm not certain what to make of 
that. One would expect an important theme to be thematized.

Perhaps it's because the terms resent and resentment only came into use in 
English in the 1600s:


Still, it looks to me that resentment motivates Satan even if the term is 

Jeffery Hodges

PS My old alma mater, Baylor University is having a King James Bible conference 
April 7-9, 2011, as I just found out.


From: Terrance Lindall <tlindall at gmail.com>
To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Sent: Fri, January 28, 2011 7:52:20 AM
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Satan and Resentment

I do not think that mere small-minded resentment compels Satan. Nor did it guide 
Captain Ahab and Captain Nemo. It is a larger than life necessary madness in 
fulfilling their destinies as to what they are as great spiritual types.  Satan 
is fulfilling his required task in the scheme of God’s creation. Satan was a 
necessity in God’s creation. Just as St. Anselm’s ontological argument proves a 
priori the necessary existence of God, so it also proves the necessary existence 
of Satan as the perfect antithesis, as a perfect idea. All perfect ideas are in 
the mind of God. I think that Milton understands this and embellishes Satan’s 
character with great attributes of nobility, good qualities in and of themselves 
used ironically in subverting the good works of God...a kind f ultimate evil! 
All this is necessary in the permutations and combinations of possibility 
becoming actuality until this universe plays itself out perfectly…in the Mind of 
God. All quite remarkable and inspiring to think about…

On Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 11:26 PM, Horace Jeffery Hodges 
<jefferyhodges at yahoo.com> wrote:

I posted some thoughts on Satan and resentment on my blog today:
>And I wondered if much has been written on the topic. I dd find this:
>"Recovering Resentment: A Reflection on Disgust, Empathy, and Milton's Satan," 
>by Brad D. Baumgartner 
>I've not yet had time to read it, however.
> Jeffery Hodges
>Milton-L mailing list
>Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
>Manage your list membership and access list archives at 
>Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/
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